Airplanes have been built in countries around the world for decades. As these planes become outdated or no longer needed, they must be stored in boneyards and eventually disposed of.
Large numbers of surplus aircraft are stored in airplane boneyards in the United States. However, military and airliner boneyards are located around the world, in the United Kingdom, Spain, Australia, Canada, Russia, and elsewhere.
Boneyards around the world serve several functions, including temporary storage, maintenance, parts reclamation, and scrapping. Some are small, some are open for a time and then closed. Airplane inventories change. Published reports are often inexact, and we have listed below boneyards that are more significant and well known based on our best research.
Several major airliner storage, maintenance and reclamation facilities are in operation in Europe, including the United Kingdom, France and Spain.
Aerial view of Cotswold Airport in the U.K., location of Air Salvage International
The world's newest "airliner boneyard" at Alice Springs Airport in the Northern Territory of Australia was completed in 2013 and began operations in June of 2014.
Stage one of the multi-million dollar Asia Pacific Aircraft Storage (APAS) at Alice Springs covers about 10 hectares and includes two access roads, a maintenance shed, a hard-stand area for up to 25 planes and a pad on which parts can be removed or added to aircraft.
The boneyard is operated by Asia Pacific Aircraft Storage (APAS) which chose Alice Springs because its dry, arid climate is ideal for aircraft storage and preservation.
23 former Air Canada Jazz and Canadian Regional Airlines Fokker F28 aircraft have been stored at the airport in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan since retirement from the fleet in 2003.
Aerial view of airliner storage at Saskatoon John G. Diefenbaker International Airport in Saskatchewan
Johannesburg O.R. Tambo International Airport is the busiest airport on the continent of Africa and is situated in the Kempton Park district of Johannesburg, 23 km north-west of the city centre and 46 km south of Pretoria city centre. The airport is one of the few airports in the world with scheduled passenger direct flights between all 6 inhabited continents and also serves as a continental gateway to many sub-Saharan countries. Its formal aviation references are: IATA Airport Code - JNB and ICAO Airport Code - FAOR, and it is commonly abbreviated to by passengers by the acronym "ORTIA", the initialised version of OR Tambo International Airport.
In addition to its major significance as an international passenger airport, it is also home for a variety of aviation related businesses engaged in aircraft maintenance, leasing, training and storage.
For more information, visit the website of the O.R. Tambo International Airport
Aerial view of airliner storage at O. R. Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg, South Africa
When Kyrgyzstan gained independence from the Soviet Union in 1991, Manas International Airport in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan began a decline, and about 60 abandoned Soviet aircraft, including helicopters to full-sized airliners, were left on the airport ramp at the Eastern end of the field. Today, the airport is one of the largest and modern aviation hubs in Central Asia, servicing numerous airlines and types of airliners.
Aerial view of airplane boneyard at Manas International Airport in Kyrgyzstan
A small airplane boneyard exists near Lukhovitsy, Moscow Oblast, Russia. The Lukhovitsy-Tretyakovo Airport is operated by Russian Aircraft Corporation as part of the Lukhovitsy Aircraft Production and Test Complex. The town grew rapidly after the transfer of testing (and later production) facilities of the Mikoyan design bureau.
Aerial view of airplane storage area near Lukhovitsy, Russia
|Jet fighters in storage near Lukhovitsy, Russia
On April 26, 1986, the nuclear plant at Chernobyl in the Ukraine experienced a catastrophic accident. Helicopters and equipment such as irradiated Soviet Mil Mi-6 choppers used during the nuclear disaster continued in storage.
Helicopters and other equipment used during the Chernobyl disaster
Airfield or Facility Name
Purpose or Type
|La Paz El Alto International Airport
|Various DC-3, C-46, DC-4, DC-6 and other prop aircraft in storage
|Vozdvizhenka Air Base
|18 gutted Tupolev Tu-22M Backfires stored in the far eastern section of Russia
|A rusted array of aircraft types: C-47, Antonov An-24, Russion MIG-21 and MIL helicopter
|Dilapidated MiG-23s from an air force that barely got off the ground in the wake of the U.S. invasion are stored from various hiding places around the former Balad Air Base (now Joint Base Balad).
|Various airplane hulks
|Laseria Airport (HLA)
|Various airplane hulks
|Johannesburg, South Africa
|Sabiha Gokcen International Airport
|myTECHNIC is world’s first Lean Greenfield MRO, located at Sabiha Gokcen International Airport (SAW) on the Asian side of Istanbul, Turkey. Provides various maintenance services, modifications, inspections, painting and dismantling.
|"The Petting Zoo" at Bagram Air Base
|Various airplane hulks from the Middle East wars
|Rinkaby Shooting Range
|Located in a distant corner of the former Rinkaby military airfield, abandoned Saab 35 Draken fighter planes have met their final resting place
Identification of different airliner types can be hard, considering the number of aircraft operating daily, and in desert storage in Australia, U.K. and the rest of the world.
Our new airliner spotting website includes visual guides and charts for identifying jet airliners from Boeing and Airbus, as well as Bombardier, Embraer, Antonov and others.